>The Outlook for Enterprise Architecture

>Enterprise architecture in its current form is due for a review by the next administration—McCain or Obama.

Will EA be the same under the next president?

Government Executive Magazine, 15 September 2008, discusses “seven election-proof initiatives likely to go on in some form or another no matter who wins in November,” and enterprise architecture is one of those.

The Federal Enterprise Architecture is looked at as a mixed bag by the Office of Management and Budget.

On one hand, it has been “a jargon-filled, technical IT effort, and one of the toughest for the Bush administration to tackle.”

On the other hand, “prognosticators say it will survive in some form because it has been a useful planning tool for chief information officers.”

Indeed EA is a challenge for any organization—planning and driving business and technology change, breaking down organizational and functional silos, pushing for information sharing, interoperability, and reuse, mandating technical standards and preferred products, insisting on performance measurement, and enforcing compliance of IT security, privacy, Section 508, records management—EA is even more taxing for OMB which is looking to do these things across the entire federal government!

What is undeniable is that enterprise architecture plays a vital function in our organizations!

The vice president of FedSources, Ray Bjorklund, states: “As painful as an architecture is to create, it is really very helpful.”

Glenn Schlarman, former chief of Information Policy and Technology Brach at OMB, states “I don’t give architecture in its current state much of a chance of survival because it’s too complex. If they could distill it down to a couple of salient points and wrap it with security then maybe it can be saved.”

While the Schlarman’s points may sound harsh, I actually agree with him on the unnecessary complexity. This is a core tenet of User-centric Enterprise Architecture. As Schlarman says, we need to “distill” the message and clearly present it to our organizational decision makers. It needs to be useful and useable to them!

EA will not only be saved, but will continue to thrive. As global competition continues to heat up, the pace of technology change spins faster and faster, and constrained resources continue to press us to do ever more with ever less, our organizations will be forced to respond in strength. Organization’s will continue look to enterprise architecture to better plan business process improvement and IT enablement and to govern sound investments and change. User-centric EA will keep the efforts focused on valuable and actionable architectures.

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